Ruins of Utaa
The former capital of Sulm lies in the very shadow of the hills that ward its northern approaches. The city was founded on and about a great plateau thrusting up from the desert floor. Today, only the center of Utaa yet stands above the encroaching sands. Bare, sun-cracked rock surrounds the city for miles, as if the gods themselves have striven to bury Utaa in an attempt to contain the evil that lurks within. The outer precincts of the city are almost completely hidden beneath the encroaching sands; only the remains of occasional watch towers, normally swarming with scorpions and many-tentacled tentamorts, yet breach the surface. The dunes here are star-shaped and very high, some soaring over one hundred feet in height. Strong, unpredictable winds complicate matters for explorers, although windstorms occasionally uncover a long-submerged portion of the city, allowing further exploration.
No known oases or rivulets exist within fifty miles of these forsaken ruins, making exploration particularly arduous. Nothing grows within the city’s boundaries and rain never falls here.
The plateau itself is immerse, towering above the surrounding lands. Many watchtowers, noble residences, and minor temples have been carved into its sides. Persistent rumors amongst the nomads speak of a convoluted network of steep, narrow, and lightness tunnels piercing the plateau itself, reaching downward to the communal burial sites of Utaa’s common folk. Below even the burial chambers run the city’s sewer, which still resist the sand’s onslaught. It is through these that pockets of the lower city can be explored.
The center of Utaa can be reached by climbing one of three paved highways warded by a series of strong-points that snake up the plateau’s steep sides. Atop the plateau stands the administrative and spiritual center of Sulm. Here, once-sumptuous palaces, lofty castles, ostentatious temples, and soaring monuments still stand. Weathered by the near-constant winds that plague the plateau, surviving monument depict a race of heroically posed cruel-faced Flan. The inner city is infested with all manner of incorporeal undead that effectively deal with most interlopers.